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Afghan Interior Ministry: Taliban District Chief Killed in Battle | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Taliban fighters pose with weapons in an undisclosed location in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province in this December 13, 2010 picture. REUTERS/Stringer

A Taliban shadow district chief was killed in fighting with security forces in eastern Wardak province, Afghanistan’s interior ministry announced on Saturday.

According to a ministry statement, Mullah Bashir, the Taliban-appointed governor of the Nirkh district, was killed and two militants were wounded late Friday night.

In a separate statement, the ministry said at least 13 militants, including five ISIS members, were killed after Afghan warplanes targeted their hideouts in eastern Paktika, northern Sar-e Pul and Jawzjan provinces.

The attacks were carried out overnight, destroying some of the militants’ weapons and vehicles.

The Taliban stormed an Afghan security post in the western Farah province, killing at least six policemen and wounding three, officials said on Friday while a pickup truck hit a roadside bomb in a remote eastern district, killing seven villagers.

The roadside explosion took place in the eastern Nangarhar province’s Achin district. The seven dead included two children and two women, said Ismail Shinwari, the district governor.

Earlier, Abdul Marouf Folad, the provincial chief police in western Farah province, said the Taliban on Thursday night attacked a security post in the north of the provincial capital, also called Farah.

A gunbattle followed, lasting for three hours, he said and added that nine Taliban fighters were also killed. The Taliban fled the scene, after seizing ammunition and guns from the police, Folad also said.

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis told NATO allies Thursday they must finish the job in Afghanistan or risk terrorist revenge as the alliance readied a troop increase to counter a resurgent Taliban.

Mattis however refused to give a firm number for how many troops US President Donald Trump would commit under a new strategy, just two years after NATO officially ended its post-9/11 combat role in Afghanistan.

Recent Taliban gains have shaken confidence in Afghanistan’s future and talk of sending NATO troops in has stoked fears the alliance could get sucked back into an unwinnable war just when it faces a host of new threats including Russia, terrorism and cyberattacks.